Public Lectures

Artist Talk at the Abrams Claghorn Gallery


This Friday evening, I will give an artist talk at the Abrams Claghorn gallery in Albany. I will explain how to take nature photographs that look like paintings without the use of photoshop, and why it is worth our while to while away our precious time admiring the natural world. You are warmly invited to join me for an evening of art, biophilia, and hobnobbing. I hope to see you there!

From the gallery:

Robert Abrams, gallery owner and curator, is delighted to present the next in a series of artist talks. This event is free of charge.

This month features ceramic sculptor Natasha Dikareva and nature photographer and naturalist Becky Jaffe. Both artists tap into the natural world for inspiration, but otherwise couldn’t be more different.

Becky Jaffe’s fine art photography explores the art of “Biophilia”, the innate sense of kinship we recognize with other living beings. Using in-camera techniques that stretch the photographic medium to create painterly effects, she fuses an artist’s sensibility with a biologist’s curiosity in order to communicate reverence for the natural world. She enjoys photographing birds and tropical insects in particular, and relishes those moments when the insects appear to be studying her.

Natasha Dikareva is known for her surreal, exquisitely formed human figures which often morph into other biological forms such as birds, fish and trees. Dikareva’s latest work, developed during an intense introspective period, confronts the idea of physical security in relation to current events in the world.

Small Wonders: The Art & Science of Insect Photography – Saturday, Nov. 2 at 2 pm

Palillo Shed by Becky Jaffe Peekaboo

In this free and family-friendly slideshow presentation, I will teach you how — and why — to wile away endless hours of otherwise productive time admiring our insect kin. I’ll finally answer the question posed in 1871 in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass: ‘What sort of insects do you rejoice in, where you come from?’

Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 2 pm

San Ramon Public Library
100 Montgomery Street
San Ramon, CA 94583

Public Lecture at the Alameda Photographic Society – Oct. 22 at 7:30 pm


Would you like to learn how to translate your love for nature into better photographs? In this presentation, Seeing Nature and the Nature of Seeing, I will offer specific tools for improving both your visual thinking skills and your fieldwork to create beautiful nature images.

Tuesday, October 22nd at 7:30 pm

Alameda Photographic Society
2441 San Jose Ave.
Alameda, California

Genital Plugs, Projectile Penises, & Gay Butterflies: A Naturalist Explains the Birds and the Bees this Wednesday, March 20th from 8 to 10 pm


Please join me on March 20th for Nerd Nite SF. If you haven’t heard of Nerd Nite, imagine Ted Talks on tequila. Nerd Nite offers a casual and occasionally drunken venue to geek out over the entertaining side of science. This Wednesday I am delighted to be one of three guest nerds presenting. I will lead you on a romp through Mother Nature’s freaky side, surveying some of the more outlandish ways animals do the wild thing. Audience members will form teams to compete in a pub quiz-style trivia game with prizes of the salacious biological variety. Just in time for Spring, this talk is guaranteed to cause a bioorgasm.

Where: the Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St, San Francisco
When: Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Cost $8


Bugpeople are my people: Insect Sciences Museum March 9th from 1-3 pm

my new roommate


Greetings from my new roommate, Ms. Eurycantha calcarata!  This impressive stick insect, about the size of a quarter, is the best honorarium I ever received. Thank you to Eddie Dunbar and the members of the Insect Sciences Museum for hosting me as guest presenter last Saturday, March 9th. The event was held at the Rotary Nature Center at Lake Merritt, the nation’s first wildlife refuge, established in 1870. It was a special pleasure to talk with other insect enthusiasts who are working right here in Oakland cataloging endemic species, organizing educational outreach programs for children and adults, and generally spreading the Arthropod appreciation.

How to be a poet


Photo: No Child Left Inside by Becky Jaffe

How To Be a Poet

By Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.


If you are a poetry teacher, Nature in Vision & Verse is a great resource for lesson planning. I am available for guest presentations in schools on nature photography and nature poetry. Please contact me if you would like me to present in your classroom.

Bay Area Life Cycles at the Randall Museum


Please join me this
Thursday, Sept 20th at 7:30 pm
for a presentation on
Bay Area Life Cycles 
at the Randall Museum
199 Museum Way in San Francisco

How well do we know the place we live, our home, the Bay Area?  One way to feel rooted in a sense of place is to observe our natural environment with exquisite attention.  This Thursday night I will present my photographs of local flora and fauna to guide you through one year in the life cycle of the Bay Area, highlighting the natural history of the spectacular wildlife who migrate through our home each month and offering tips on the best local wildlife viewing spots.

We’ll play Name That Migratory Animal! with pubQuiz-style field recordings and compete for prizes of the esoteric biological variety.  This event is graciously hosted by the SF Natural History Series.

I look forward to seeing you there!



Dirty, Earthy Night Life

Mating Mantids

Photo: Working Up An Appetite by Becky Jaffe


Please join me in celebration of Earth Day this Thursday night at the California Academy of Sciences for a “Dirty, Earthy NightLife.” I am delighted to be presenting a slideshow of my photography entitled Eye to Compound Eye: The Art and Science of Insect Photography.

Incorporating anecdotes from biology, ecology, and cultural anthropology, I will share my adventures in insect photography in the hopes of inspiring you to pick up your camera and look at insects with a new lens.

WHEN:     Thursday, April 26, 8:30pm

WHERE:   Cal Academy, African Hall

55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco